Suicide prevention should become government responsibility say various political parties
The national and local governments should be legally obliged to prevent suicides. That was a proposal submitted by the Christian party ChristenUnie, which was co-signed by the Labor Party (PvdA), the Christian Democrat Party (CDA), the Green Party (GroenLinks), the Socialist Party (SP), the Reformist Politica Party (SGP), the party for seniors (50PLUS).
Liberal party D66 also voiced their approval, thus creating a majority in the House of Representatives. Suicide prevention now depends on the political choices of a sitting cabinet, but there is no guarantee that the efforts and resources will be maintained in the next cabinet.
The parties want to make it a duty for the national and local government and outline specific obligations in the Public Health Act (WPG). This means that the Minister of Health must draw up a research program, a policy agenda, and a communication plan. A free helpline should also be arranged, according to the ChristenUnie.
ChristenUnie Member of Parliament Joël Voordewind explained that "more than 1,800 people a year are so desperate that they see no other way than suicide. Every year, more than 250,000 people are confronted with someone from their family or circle of friends who has killed himself. That is terribly awful. Free, accessible help is literally vital. Good help prevents so much suffering. First of all, for the people who think about suicide, but also for the next of kin, care providers and other parties involved."
Monique Kavelaars, Executive Board Chair of the 113 Suicide Prevention hotline, said that "the fact that these political parties are now coming up with a bill shows that we are no longer accepting suicide without hesitation." The support now yields a large majority in the House of Representatives. But after the elections, the next government will have to work on this.